October 1, 2011

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Like the early arrival of a dear friend to a dinner party, fall's approach is welcome despite its hasty return. We can sense this harvest season's shift in the quality of light, subtle changes of temperature, and for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the passing of the Autumnal Equinox has undeniably marked our calendars.

As perfume lovers, we now circle back to our cozy fragrances, those bottles filled with gourmand, ambery, and vanilla laden liquids. Chopard's Casmir and Guerlain's Spiritueuse Double Vanille are currently within arm's reach on my dresser. These vanilla based fragrances compliment fall's hallmarks of home baking, wood fires, and crisp air with a non-cloying sweetness accompanied by spices and smooth amber. Another similarly sensual scent is the newest botanical creation from DSH Perfumes, Vanille Botanique.

Because Vanille Botanique is made exclusively from all natural materials, its sillage is light so it will only address those who are close to you. Its longevity though, belies the common belief that most natural fragrances are fleeting as Vanille Botanique graces the skin and nose from morning to evening.

Although there is citrus in the top notes, Vanille Botanique is introduced as a basalmic vanilla fragrance from the get-go. Red mandarin is the most apparent of the citrus essences, but not in a zesty or sparkling manner. Rather, it lends a light dimension to Vanille Botanique, alluding to the fact that this fragrance never becomes weighty or thick. Having said that, Vanille Botanique is most substantial in the opening which is redolent of an aged rum that has been distilled in wooden casks.

Vanilla courses through the boozy liquid but like Casmir and Spiritueuse Double Vanille it's seamlessly blended so while there are caramel tones and hints of brown sugar, it is absent of a foody quality or saccharine sweetness. A peppery, nutmeg-like spiciness also helps temper the vanilla and move forward with the buoyant theme.

While it's important to state what Vanille Botanique is, it might be even more important to mention what it is not. There's no smoke, or incense, and yes there are woods and resins in the notes, but it is not a woody fragrance per se. By contrast, it is evocative of balsams that have infused the perfume as a whole, which is ultimately what Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, its creator, does so well. Her blending technique is highly perfected which puts the focus on one's overall experience of her perfumes rather than the attempt of dissecting the list of notes.   

Looking at the basenotes is a perfect example. You'll find benzoin, labdanum, and tonka listed which suggests the makings of an amber drydown. But until you have Vanille Botanique on your skin, you'd be hard pressed to imagine Dawn's ability to sand down those ambery edges, creating an unbelievable softness while simultaneously maintaining its clarity and lightness.
Vanilla Clarity: DSH Perfumes Vanille Botanique

New Fragrance Profile Exclusive;
launches today at Indie Scents
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By Trish Vawter
Vanille Botanique is an ideal comfort scent for fall and winter to be sure. It will guide you into a
leisurely afternoon like the archetypal image of relaxation, being curled up on the couch with your
favorite book and blanket. But this perfume is more than that. Vanille Botanique's duality of sensual
clarity merges earthly raw materials with a heightened awareness and clear intention. This can be taken literally in regards to the perfumer's process of creation, or the effect it  has on the wearer. I'd like to think it's both.

Vanille Botanique launches on October 1st, exclusively at Indie Scents 1oz. for $130.

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz DSH website


Trish Vawter